A ‘high-class’ £90million development boasting 400 homes, a care facility and a ‘village green’ on land next to an Exeter supermarket has been given the go-ahead.
Proposals for the plot off Prince Charles Road – close to Morrisons – were approved by city council planning chiefs this week.
The site, near to Exmouth Junction, has historically been a railway goods, sidings and coal concentration yard. It has most recently been used for surface storage.
Eutopia Homes (Exeter) Ltd asked for permission to build 296 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments in a trio of separate five-storey blocks, along with 104 four-bedroom, three-storey townhouses.
A 3,300sq m ‘village green’ will be created in the centre of the development.
The main vehicular access to the site will be from the existing roundabout immediately to the east of the site – adjacent to the Morrisons petrol station.
Concerns were, however, raised about a request by Devon County Council (DCC) to provide a pair of pedestrian/cycle shared footpaths links to the scheme through the Prince Charles Road allotments site.
Graham Yarwood, speaking on behalf of the allotment holders, told Exeter City Council’s planing committee that the proposed route would ‘strike at the heart of the community’ and divide it in two.
But the council’s development project manager told councillors they were only being asked to approve the principle of a cycle path through the site. He added that the exact detail of its location would be subject to separate planning applications.
Councillor Jane Begley, who represents the Pennsylvania ward, called for the entire scheme to be refused and said: “A proportionate development would be welcome by all, but the density of housing is too much and it will bring pressure on the surrounding communities.”
She also raised concerns the development would exacerbate existing issues around parking – as only 192 spaces were proposed – and would impact on education and health provision.
Cllr Rachel Sutton supported the scheme and said: “I welcome it and there is a lot to like. Change is never popular, but this has been a derelict railway site for as far as I can remember.
“This is a residential development on a brownfield site. We have very limited sites left in the city that are capable for residential development.
“High-density and high-quality designs are very popular in Europe and we have to have new ways of thinking about developing this city.
“We have a chronic shortage of homes for people who want to live in the city…this is an opportunity to change the quality of rented accommodation available.
“I will choose homes over allotments every time and won’t apologise for that.”
Cllr Emma Morse added: “This is not an attractive piece of land and a gift for us, really, when looking to develop sites. We need a high density as otherwise it puts pressure on the green spaces.”
Cllr Phil Bialyk said: “This is a high-class [development]and one we need in the city. There are a lot of people out there who want housing.”
Members voted by 10 to one to approve the outline application for the scheme. Further, detailed plans will need to be approved for the development to become a reality.
Eutopia Homes says the development is estimated to facilitate £90million of private sector investment in Exeter.